Matthew Karp is a historian of the U.S. Civil War era and its relationship to the nineteenth-century world. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011 and joined the Princeton faculty in 2013.
His first book, This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy (Harvard, 2016) explores the ways that slavery shaped U.S. foreign relations before the Civil War. In the larger transatlantic struggle over the future of bondage, American slaveholders saw the United States as slavery's great champion, and harnessed the full power of the growing American state to defend it both at home and abroad. This Vast Southern Empire received the John H. Dunning Prize from the American Historical Association, the James Broussard Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, and the Stuart L. Bernath Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.
Karp is now at work on a book about the emergence of anti-slavery mass politics in the United States, and in particular the radical vision of the Republican Party in the 1850s.
At Princeton, Karp teaches courses on the Civil War era, slavery and anti-slavery, the nineteenth-century United States, and political conflicts across the mid-nineteenth-century world.
"Lincoln: The Great Uncompromiser," The Nation, October 26, 2017
"The Enduring Struggle," The Nation, April 17, 2017
"In the 1850s, the future of American slavery seemed bright," Aeon, November 2016
"The New World Order," Boston Review, October 2016